With better processors and improved LTE coverage, it's easy to see your favorite shows almost everywhere. However, not all of us expensive flagship phones can afford the latest top tier specifications. However, with a maximum budget of $ 400, you can find solid phones that deliver a great viewing experience.
Every year we find new examples of cheap phones that are getting better and better. When you focus on factors that address a specific need (for example, watching videos), you can easily find phones that have enough energy to reach your destination. For watching videos, this means a big screen, a sound processor and great battery life. There are a number of phones that meet these criteria, and after the review, here are the top four.
Table of Contents
- SoC: The system on a chip (or processor) drives the device. This hardware component determines the overall performance of the phone and even affects video streaming services. All devices except the Moto G6 have midrange processors with more than enough media consumption.
- Modem: The hardware component responsible for managing your LTE wireless data connection. Modems are measured in categories, with higher numbers indicating faster theoretical maximum speeds. With a better modem, there is less chance that videos will buffer or lose quality.
- Screen Size: Probably the most critical criterion on our list is the size of the screen on the smartphone. When it comes to video consumption, a larger screen is preferred
- Resolution: Almost as important, the resolution is the maximum number of pixels displayed on the screen. 1080p is the standard because most movies and TV shows are output at this resolution. Although there are 4K, there are not many streaming sources that support video at this resolution.
- Aspect Ratio: The ratio of the width of a display to its height. This number comes into play when playing back movies because the aspect ratio of movies varies depending on the aspect ratio of your screen. Compared to 16: 9 screens, 18: 9 screens do not display horizontal black bars for 1.85: 1 video (typical of older films like The Godfather ), and the black bars are smaller than 2, 39: 1 Videos (found in recent films such as Netflix The Cloverfield Paradox )
- Screen-to-Body Ratio: The ratio of the display compared to the front of the phone. The higher the percentage, the smaller the forehead and chin, resulting in a more immersive viewing experience.
- Screen Type: The type of screen technology used. There are only two options for smartphones: OLED or LCD. Normally you will not find any OLED devices in this price range, which is why every phone on our list uses an LCD display.
- Color Temperature: The "warmth" or "coolness" of the color calibration of a screen. A perfect representation of white is 6,500K, so the closer to that number, the better. A higher number indicates that white is "cooler" or more blue, while a number below 6500K indicates that white appears "warm" or slightly orange. The data comes from the Phone Arena.
- Maximum brightness: The maximum brightness that can be achieved by the display. This number is measured in Nissen, with a higher number indicating a brighter display. Brighter screens are required when looking at your phone in direct sunlight. The data was sourced from Phone Arena
- Minimum Brightness: The minimum brightness that can be achieved by the display. Lower levels of brightness help in viewing at night and can reduce battery consumption, which is important when watching your favorite programs binge. The data comes from the Phone Arena.
- Battery Size: The capacity of the battery. A larger capacity usually means a better battery life.
- Battery life: The battery life of the phone when playing a video at 50% screen brightness. We used data from GSM Arena that shut down a fully charged battery by up to 10% while running a standard definition video with Airplane Mode enabled.
- Expandable Memory: Since then, the internal memory of smartphones has become much bigger. It's always nice to have microSD support. Not only does this provide a significant amount of storage for a low price, it will also be very helpful if the video streaming service you are using can download videos to watch without an internet connection.
- OS Version: In which version of the Android operating system is the phone running? Each phone runs Android 8.0 Oreo with the exception of the Nokia 6.1, which currently runs the latest Android version 8.1 Oreo.
- Multitasking features: Ability to perform a different task while playing a video. Unlike iOS, you can share the screen with Android by placing the video on one side of the screen and another on the opposite side. Split ad lets you search, take notes, read articles, or work while enjoying your favorite movie or TV show.
- Notification Interference: Whether incoming notifications interrupt video playback. For all phones in this list, this is not a problem, since here each Android is running.
- Netflix picture-in-picture mode: While Android 8.0 Oreo added picture-in-picture mode to most apps Netflix is different. The streaming service requires the latest version, Android 8.1 Oreo, to work so only one device on our list has access to this feature.
- Speaker placement: The position of the speaker on the device. When playing videos without headphones, the placement of the speaker plays a major role in audibility. Ideally, you want the speakers to be facing you.
- Speaker Volume: How loud can the speakers be? Measured in decibels, higher numbers are better because it's easier to hear your content in noisy environments. This data was obtained from Phone Arena.
- Headphone Jack: Whether the phone has the elusive 3.5mm headphone jack. Since we enjoy movies on the go, this port offers the best listening experience.
How to dial these phones
We only chose phones that passed the Google Compatibility Test Suite – without this certification, you would lose access to apps on the Google Play Store, including Netflix. Many phones from several Chinese manufacturers have been eliminated due to this requirement.
We considered screen size as one of the most important components when it comes to video playback. Therefore, we have only looked at phones with a display of at least 5.5 inches.
Finally, we have made sure that every phone is currently available at or below the $ 400 price point. Only one phone on our list comes close, with every other option much cheaper. For many, $ 400 is the right starting point for a budget phone.
If you value aesthetics, you might want to check out the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra. Its boxy design prompted one of our authors to catalog it into one of the ugliest cell phones he'd seen in 2018 – but hey, beauty is just superficial. If you focus on specifications and internals, the XA2 Ultra is an excellent budget phone that can compete with any device in this price range. And when it comes to watching movies and TV shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, you will not find a better option at this price.
By far the biggest selling point of the XA2 Ultra is its 6.0-inch display. It also offers a 1080p resolution so you can enjoy high quality video on the go, and it houses this large display in the second-highest screen -body-ratio
Sony has equipped the Xperia XA2 Ultra with one of the better displays at this price XA2 Ultra has the brightest screen and the second best Color temperature on this list, its lowest brightness level is the second lowest, which helps with nighttime viewing or saving battery.
Speaking of battery, the XA2 Ultra contains the largest battery in this list with 3,580 mAh With the powerful but efficient SoC and IPS LCD panel, the XA2 Ultra has a full-time battery. In real life tests, it blows all the other phones out of the water with a battery that lasts three hours longer than the second-place phone.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 630 processor is a relatively new SoC (first announced in May 2017) The device offers midrange performance without compromising battery life. While graphically immersive games like PUBG Mobile reach their limits, it can watch more than just video, whether it's local files or online streaming.
But when it comes to video streaming, the integrated modem is the real star. The X12 modem provides up to Cat-12 download speeds (600 Mbps) and Cat-13 upload speeds (150 Mbps). While you will never reach a download speed of 600 Mbps in the real world, a modem that allows higher theoretical speeds will allow faster speeds for slower connections.
The Glory 7X has the highest screen-to-body ratio at 77% 2 XL has 76.4% .The Honor 7X Unfortunately, the screen has the second lowest maximum brightness level, so viewing in direct sunlight will be a problem.
While the battery is the second With a capacity of 3,340 mAh, the battery life does not match the size of the battery Batteries The Honor 7x has the lowest battery life on our list, resulting in lower battery life than other phones on our list of smaller batteries.
The Glory 7X has a lot to offer. Even if Honor decided to raise its price by $ 50, it would still compete well with the other phones on our list. However, the poor battery life and the slower modem impacted the recommendation over the other two options, forcing us to rank it third on our list.
Phone 4: Moto G6
The Moto G6 is one of the strangest entries on our list. The decisions of Lenovo, owners of the Motorola smartphone brand, leave some questions unanswered. At each step, the Moto G6 seems to take a step back and must be the last one on our list.
Let's start with the processor. Lenovo chose an entry-level chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450. It's the slowest SoC on our list, both in terms of performance and energy efficiency. While it can handle streaming video (because the modem is strong enough to handle 1080p video), the CPU can interfere with video playback. Especially with locally stored videos, the performance of video playback may be affected.
The Moto G6 uses a 5.7 "IPS LCD screen, similar to others on our list, it has a resolution of 1080p, in addition it uses the same 18: 9 aspect ratio found on the Honor 7X, which generally narrows the aperture on the smartphone, but with the use of a forward-looking fingerprint scanner, the Moto G6 has the second lowest screen-to-body ratio 19659070] The Best Sub-400 Mobile Phones to Watch Movies and TV Shows  Picture of Jon Knight / Gadget Hacks
Another interesting choice is the battery size. We expect Lenovo to minimize the thickness and benefit from it. The lower power consumption of the Qualcomm 400 series chipset: while they are the latter, they failed on the latter with the second weakest battery life on our list.
As for audio, the Moto G6 has the only front speakers a on our list. They achieved this with the EA rpiece as a speaker. In addition, the sound is optimized with Dolby Audio. Just a tip: Do not turn off Dolby Audio. When disabled, the sound is greatly reduced and produces a barely audible sound from a few meters away.
The Moto G6 would be easier to recommend if its price tag were a bit less. At $ 249.99, it's $ 50 more than the Honor 7X, which is a better budget phone for video consumption. And for $ 20 more dollars, you can get the Nokia 6.1, which offers a better experience, whether you are watching videos or doing anything else. But if front-speaker speakers are a must, then this is your only option and a solid choice that is better than many others who have not made our list. Conclusion
When you think of budget phones, you often think about compromises. Because of your tight budget, you simply get the "least sucky" phone. However, as you can see with our list, you can get a true value below $ 400. You do not have to spend $ 600 more to enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows. With each of our options, you can enjoy your favorite movie or bang your favorite shows wherever you go.
If $ 400 is your maximum, there is no better choice than the Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra. It has the largest screen on our list, a mid-range SoC with a fast modem, high screen-to-body ratio and fantastic battery life. No other phones at this price offer you a better experience. If you want to keep it under $ 300, the Nokia 6.1 is your best bet, as it is simply a cut above the rest of the phones in its price range.